This is the only data source that provides information on every living quarter and every individual of the country. Sri Lanka had its first scientific census in 1871. Since then censuses were conducted usually every 10 years. The 15th Census of Population and Housing will be conducted in 2023/24.
This is the large-scale operation for the collection and compilation of statistical information on the agriculture sector of the country. A Census of Production conducted in 1921 was the first attempt at the taking of an agricultural Census. The latest census on agricultural activities was conducted in 2013/14. The next Economic Census on agricultural activities is to be followed by the next Census of Population and Housing.
The first attempt to collect industrial statistics was in the Census Agriculture and Industries which was taken in conjunction with the Population Census in 1946. The census taken in 1983 covered the activities of Mining, Quarrying, Manufacturing as well as the production and distribution of Electricity, Gas and Water. The latest Economic Census (Non-agricultural activities) covered all economic activities which were operative during the census period encompassing industry, trade, construction, and service sectors in line with the ISIC Revision 4.
A census of government employees including teachers in government schools and local government employees was taken for the first time in 1951 by DCS. Three subsequent censuses in 1960s and 1970s were conducted by the Ministry of Public Administration. The first census of a new series which covered not only the public sector but also the Corporation Sector was taken by the DCS in 1980. Since then censuses were conducted in 1985, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and the latest in the series in 2016.
Depending on the requirements of the government, DCS from time to time conducts various censuses such as “Census of Children in Childcare Institutions 2019”, “Census on Computer Literacy of academic staff of Government Schools, Approved Private Schools and Privenas 2006”, “Census of Microfinance Institutions – 2005”, “Tsunami Census - 2005 (Housing/Non-Housing Units and Persons Affected by Tsunami)” etc.